At age 4, I knew I wasn't a girl.

Granted, some part of me knew I wasn't a boy, either. There weren't words for people like me. Well, that's not completely true. There weren't words that explained what I was feeling. There were plenty of words for people like me.

Freak. Weirdo. Attention-seeker. Idiot. It's just a phase.

These words became more weighted as I grew older and got more involved in my local church. And after I left my childhood home, it would be five more years before I accepted my gender identity enough to start transitioning.

I called hell home

I grew up in a devout, conservative Utah suburb nestled against the Rocky Mountains. In the past decade, thousands of people have moved here to make their home in a picture-perfect landscape—ironic, as my childhood was anything but perfect.

Everyone in my neighborhood and many people surrounding it went to the local Mormon church each Sunday. Because everyone around me was Mormon, it felt like church never ended. It wasn't something just for Sundays—it was